Letters //

Letters – Week 5, Semester 2

All the gripes, moans and comments from Week 5.

letters 1

Make those ticket sales pay the bills

Dear Honi,

I was somewhat taken aback by your leading article, “We aren’t worth enough to them”. Throughout, it pursues a single narrative, in which the singular explanation for the Queer Revue’s lack of success is attributed to poor funding by the prejudiced Student Union and concludes by saying that “a revue’s worth shouldn’t be measured by its ticket sales.” This is an interesting proposal.

The figures start with a description of how the Union allocates funding. It is, perhaps not surprisingly, on the size of the theatre in the Seymour Centre which a revue has to cater for. The Queer Revue received $6000, at the halfway point between the Union’s minimum allocation of $4000 and top of $8000. This is despite it still only having to sell out the smallest Seymour theatre to graduate to higher funding tiers. This system, the article’s author asserts, “privileges entrenched and established revues.” Presumably, these revues have been forced to pass through the crucible of graduating to higher Union funding tiers at some point, as well.

However, these “entrenched” revues are further “privileged” by corporate funding. In the case of the Law Revue, it receives sponsorship from “well-heeled corporate law firms”. I find it amusing that criticism is leveled at bodies that, not unreasonably, are investing in their future employees. Further, I imagine some of the participants in the Law Revue, indirectly sponsored by these firms, also happen to be queer. Is there a reason why law firms should have a particular interest in Queer Revue?

While the specifics of these contradictions are interesting, and the fact that it was not truly specified how increased funding would lead to a superior production, it is not these issues that motivated this letter. Rather, it is the notion that ticket sales are an irrelevant metric and that talent is incapable of surmounting financial limitations. Great things have been done with small sums, and I have enough faith in the 50,000 strong student body to reward a great production with sold out theaters, however small. I would suggest that maybe something else is the matter with your production and you look to overcome challenges with accomplishment, rather than bemoaning them. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in future productions, but your problem being exclusively one of funding is unlikely.

Regards,

Benjamin Richardson

Liberal Arts and Science, II

Benjamin 2: Electric Boogaloo

Dear Honi,

It was with some heart that I read your editorial this week. For a paper that frequently lambasts the actions of Dr. Spence, along with other groups I shall choose not to mention, he was given a brief reprieve. At last there is some acknowledgement of the impossible position he occupies – that of taking on significant responsibility for encouraging and marshalling public debate. This, as you acknowledge, is not generally the role of a vice-chancellor.

He has enough insight to recognise the flaws in the current, town hall style consultation process and continues to indulge the likes of Honi Soit with his thoughts, despite, in reality, having no obligation to do so.

All this would seem to suggest he is not the Darth Vader figure he is sometimes portrayed as. He is not out to get us, and I, for one, am not in the least bit disappointed with Dr. Spence’s communications. He has been far more forthright than most political figures, vice-chancellor undoubtedly being a political position, and he continues to respond to the appropriately robust debate, despite his public treatment.

I hope you continue to recognise the difficulty he must face, of straddling numerous opinions, all competing for his attention, and treat him with at least a modicum of kindness and respect.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Richardson

Liberal Arts and Science, II

On the wrong side of the law

Dear Honi,

Engaging in the University of Sydney Union’s annual revue season is like playing some twisted real-life version of Minesweeper where one misstep will have you writhing in your seat and lamenting the money wasted on your ticket.

Revue culture seems to be founded on a bizarre ‘offend everyone you can’ principle. It holds that the more marginalised groups you manage to ridicule, the less liable you are for any offense caused because hey, at least you’re not singling anyone out, right? People of colour, queer people, women — they’re all fair game. After all, these are the revues! The point is to be funny, and what’s funnier than a person with brown skin,
a faggot, or a woman?

Let’s talk about the 2014 Law Revue. The trailer was cringe-worthy. Entitled “Important Issues are Important”, it took the piss out of whiteboard photo campaigns and delegitimised anti-racism and mental health awareness projects that have been run on this campus. Yes, important issues are important, which is why people of colour and people suffering from mental illness are running these campaigns, and we don’t particularly appreciate it when a group of white, upper middle class, pretentious wankstains delegitimise our efforts.

So I went in with low expectations. There was some great material in there, no doubt. Then there was the whole kind-of-racist-what-the-fuck-were-the-writers-thinking ‘The Bachelor: Saudi Arabia’ sketch, in which the bachelor chooses to marry ALL of the contestants. Then there was the Nazi apologist sketch. And who could forget the sketch where refugees were ecstatic about being resettled on Christmas Island because they thought it was where Father Christmas lived? Nothing makes for a better laugh than the inhumane detention and torture of refugees. Our Government is committing crimes against humanity! Ha ha ha!

The revues must mature beyond the offensive-equals-funny paradigm, and the USU must intervene when necessary. Racism is not acceptable in any context, and I refuse to be the punchline to your shit joke. If you feel the need to turn a minority group into a punching bag in order to make your show remotely funny, do us all a favour and self-immolate.

Fahad Ali

Proud queer person of colour and cast member, Queer Revue 2014

Just don’t put it in fruit salad alright

Dear Honi Soit & its faithful readers,

It is with a heavy heart today that I wish to inform you – nay, the world that a grievous error has occurred. Having been entrusted with the almighty and glorious task of composing the Quiz for Week 4, I managed to fail in this task.

The tomato is botanically a fruit, not a vegetable like the answers say. Yes, botanically a fruit.

Now, I can push all the blame to myself, or I can be a bigger man and blame the editors.

So I will.

Yi Jian Ching

(Take it as revenge for continually misprinting my name – revenge in the least significant way possible.)

Vice Chancellor Michael Spence.

Michael Spence

Michael Spence: the fair controller?

The Vice Chancellor has been in the role for almost a decade; his drive to reshape the University seems to have only grown.